(16)Sowing and Reaping in Word-Faith

1.In the theology of the faith movement, wealth is seen as evidence

   of God’s blessing, while poverty is seen as a sign of spiritual failure.

   Tilton sums up the thinking of many faith teachers with the words:

   [Being poor is a sin].

2.The concept of sowing and reaping is popular in faith

   circles. Such texts as Galatians 6:7 are often employed to

   justify this teaching.

3.Duplantis, in using this text, explains that by planting a financial

   seed into a ministry, the believer can name what it is that they

   want in return and believe that they shall receive it.  Invariably

   linked to the belief of positive confession

4.Duplantis claims that when one is seed planting in this way,

   failure to be specific in naming what is hoped for, such as a

   particular material possession or financial sum, can result in a

   failure to receive a harvest.

5.Galatians 6:7 cannot be used to support the seed-faith concept

   of the faith movement. Rather than appealing to an

   individual’s greed (Gal.6:8), in context the passage is

   clearly encouraging people to crucify all selfish desires

   (Gal. 5:21, 24) and serve one another selflessly

   (Gal. 6:9-10).

6.Avanzini thinks that one of the reasons why some believers

   fail to prosper is because their subconscious mind has been

   conditioned into accepting the tradition that Jesus was poor;

   and it is as a result of such negative conditioning that building

   faith for prosperity sometimes fails.  The answer, according to

   Avanzini, is to recondition the subconscious mind with the

   truth that Jesus actually lived in great prosperity.By thinking

   like this, the believer is then free to receive his or her rich

   inheritance.

7.Avanzini arrives at this view of Jesus by citing John 19:23-24

   to prove that the garment that Jesus wore at His crucifixion

   was a custom-made designer garment, the kind that kings and

   rich merchants wore. He also attempts to reinforce this belief

   by bringing to attention the fact that the soldiers who crucified

   Him cast lots over the garment. Avanzini presumably believes

   that if Jesus was ministering today, He would be wearing an

   Armani suit and a rolex watch.

8.However, rather than being  the [designer clothes] of rich kings

   and merchants, Beasely-Murray shows that the kind of tunic

   that Jesus wore, although possibly made by his mother, was

   not particularly unusual in Palestine in the first century. He

   also reveals that the practice of casting lots for the garment

   was a common tradition. Contrary to what Avanzini tries to

   prove, there was nothing particularly out of the ordinary a

   bout the clothes Jesus wore.

9.If material blessings were in direct proportion to a persons

   giving or one’s faith, wealth would be a slide rule for the

   measuring of spirituality and Peter, James and John should

   have become millionaires.

10.But Jesus clearly warned His followers to be on

   their guard against all forms of greed and stated

   that one’s life does not consist in the amount of

   material possessions that a person may have

   (Luke 12:15). 

11.Jesus did not come to bring material and financial prosperity,

    rather He came to focus peoples attention on the

   value of eternal prosperity (Matt. 6:19-20). 

12.Unfortunately, throughout history, the Church has seen two

   extremes where materialism is concerned. Early Christianity was

   marked by the rigorous ascetics and by the Church fathers who

   forcefully attacked all luxury and emphasised poverty as an

   important Christian virtue. But today the Church has sprouted

   a philosophy of the opposite extreme. Either extreme distorts

   the Christian life. The Bible clearly teaches that a balance

   in such matters is needed (Prov. 30:7-9; Phil. 4:11-12). 

13.There are many faithful believers who live modestly and will

   never have more than the basic necessities of life. Yet they are

   content to have what they have. The prosperity teachers

   ridicule such and say that they only have that little

   because they don’t trust God for more; the fact of their

   contentment (which is highly regarded by God) is looked upon

   as a lack of faith. And they are chastised because they haven’t

   got the faith to get more so they can give more. Ultimately,

   the giving is expected to go into the coffers of the prosperity

   teacher; they may give to others, but not apart from also giving

   to the prosperity teacher.

14.All the prosperity teachers use a particular fear tactic to

   establish their rule for giving if you don’t give, God will

   curse you. Many also teach that if one wishes to use the

   prosperity gospel for selfish ends — to acquire personal wealth

   without giving — it isn’t going to work. If, however, one uses the

   prosperity gospel with the intention of acquiring wealth for

   unselfish purposes (i.e. giving to the prosperity teacher,

   no doubt), God’s promise is that He will shower abundant financial

   blessings upon him.

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